• The Star Staff

Mayors urge action on hospitalization of COVID-19 patients



Luis Javier Hernández and Nelson Torres Yordán, vice presidents of the Puerto Rico Mayors Association, recommended on Wednesday on behalf of members from 45 municipalities, that immediate action be taken on the hospitalizations of citizens infected with the novel coronavirus and the limited supply of reagents to perform tests for COVID-19, as requested by professionals from clinical laboratories.

“The rise in positive cases is already a fact recognized by everyone,” said Hernández, the mayor of Villalba, in a written statement. “Our call is for us to go to the next step and it is related to hospitalizations and the available tests.”

The case identification and tracking project that was created in Villalba, a municipality in the south-central part of the island, was so effective that it served as an example for the rest of Puerto Rico and was adopted by the island Health Department.

Guayanilla Mayor and former lawmaker Torres Yordán, who recently dealt with the case of a family that contracted COVID-19 after a visit from a relative who came from the mainland United States, said the arrival of flights from jurisdictions in the United States where there is a serious increase in COVID-19 infections must be carefully managed.

“Mayors, as has been the case in past catastrophic events, are ready and available to continue helping in this very worrying situation,” Torres Yordán said.

The Guayanilla mayor added that the Health Department must share with the municipalities information on arriving flights and cases of travelers with COVID-19, so that mayors can do the necessary follow-up in the towns.

“Since the beginning of the pandemic we have insisted that we are the ones who know [our towns] community by community and the particular situation of each one,” Torres Yordán said. “That knowledge must be used to manage cases and help families.”

Another proposal presented by the Mayors Association, which groups the island’s Popular Democratic Party mayors, was related to the management of public health and the needs of the business sector.

“We promote that there be a balance between the priority, which is the health of the people, and economic activity,” said Hernández, the Villalba mayor. “To achieve this objective, it is important that there is effective coordination between the municipalities and the state police, the Health Department and the Treasury Department. In order to have a good control of the situation, it is important that there is such coordination.”